The Upsurge in Palm Oil Consumption Lead to Deforestation; The Industry Has Begun Sustainable Palm Oil Initiative

By Menahem, Zen | Jun 09, 2017 02:12 PM EDT

The increasing demand for palm oil in the global has aggravated the loss of forest in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia. Meanwhile, the palm oil industry has begun the effort to produce and trade the sustainable palm oil product.

According to the European Parliament resolution, issued on April 4, 2017, stated that 40 percent of the global deforestation is caused by the palm oil production. Unfortunately, European Parliament did not mention the source of that data.

The resolution itself was criticized by the Huffington Post as distorted information of the palm oil production. Such information is able to shape the public opinion on the sustainability effort in palm oil industry. Furthermore, according to World Bank, when managed and developed in a proper way, palm oil industry can eradicate poverty in the tropics.

It is undeniable that an increase of palm oil production and global consumption has led to the vast increase of land clearing for the palm plantation. This land clearing activity threatens the vast tropical forest and biodiversity in Sumatra and Borneo, the main area for plantation. Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that produced 85 percent of the global production of palm oil, has already lost million square miles of their rainforest a year to be converted into palm plantation.

In respond to the demand, palm oil industry has begun an effort to significantly reduce the deforestation for palm oil production. In 2004, stakeholders of the palm oil industry gathered to establish an association that aimed to promote sustainable palm oil production, called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The members of RSPO consist of palm oil producers, processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks or investors in the industry, also environmental and social non-governmental organizations.

In 2006, RSPO has initiated the program for trading the sustainable palm oil production called GreenPalm, which was developed in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund. The GreenPalm program consists a series of certification to ensure only the sustainably produced the palm oil is traded in this trading program. Watch the report on the effort of RSPO and WWF to manage the sustainable palm oil below:

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